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Memories: What sticks, what won’t

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Memories: What sticks, what won’t

While breakfast happens every morning, some such as this one, get remembered.

Photo by JEFF LUND/


POSTED August 11, 2010 2:32 a.m.
Surrounded by conversations of whales, sailing, the Panama Canal and authentic Scottish whiskey, I spend the last moments in the Alaskan time zone reading.

Well, more like looking at pages than actual reading.

I thought about the halibut rolling to its white side then bolting back into the depths, adding a solid ten minutes to the fight. I recalled the first king salmon of the summer, the big ones on calm days in open ocean and the first silver in the river.

Distracted from my book, I picked at the remains of a blister from the winters worth of wood I chopped, and the gash I got after falling on a sharp rock while racing to Scott’s side to club a fish.

I wondered if they were telling their anecdotes with a sense of satisfaction and completion, not simply because most of the passengers had us by at least four decades and had the benefit of longevity, but if they had lived a good story.

I wondered what I would tell in the days after my prime. Would I even remember the octopus that ate half the shrimp in the crab pot Abe and I pulled, or would that be paved over by something else yet to come? Would any of those fish I clubbed and Josh cut make it into the Life DVD? Probably not.

I am pretty sure the lady being searched and held at Canadian customs that announced, “I am getting in trouble over a bottle of Cialis” to anyone listening from their parked vehicles, will stay in my memory for a while, out of sheer ridiculousness.

But I will certainly forget Adrian, the waitress at the steakhouse in Terrace that had me at, “I just like to fish for trout from the dock at the lake,” on the drive up, then remembered me on the trip back down.

I blushed, paid, then left.

Those seasoned story tellers certainly had their share of babes in their days, but one in particular has made all the rest irrelevant.

I suppose this summer wasn’t all about what I will remember. Mom liked me being home, catching fish, chopping firewood, mowing the lawn, though she was a little scared about me using her two-month old car to shuttle three dudes plus myself to and from the river for a week. She must remember the time I hit a deer with her explorer and the seven months it took to get it fixed because the mechanic fished during the summers and worked on back-logged vehicles during the winter and spring.

The four guys that visited over the summer say they will remember their first Alaska trip for the rest of their lives, but I think they are choosing to not remember how to cook the fish, because they keep making me do it. I don’t mind, of course because re-watching the 42-minute movie from their trip is a degree above hilarious.

I do hate viewing life as a checklist, because no one is grading you on what you’ve done. What’s more important is how you did it.

I can sleep back here at the barn knowing I did the summer pretty well, and while certain memories that seem important now will fade, the really important ones will be stocked with the rest, waiting for a time to take on possible embellishments.

If you are in the market for a remarkable event, I would recommend the brilliance of Tim Horton’s. I’ve tossed around writing a letter to the president to get them to open a store in Manteca. Just one. There is no need for nation-wide invasion, just here. If you want to try one and have an open weekend, just take I-5 north until you hit Canada, flash your passport and there you go. I suppose 928 miles is a long way for a cup of coffee and fresh baked goods and fairly priced sandwiches that are plastic-wrap free, but it would be a story you might be able to tell some friends in 40 years if you do it well.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail aklund21@gmail.com.

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